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First, we asked you to send in your questions for Happy Holden, Joe Fjelstad, Eric Camden, John Mitchell, and Tara Dunn in our “Just Ask” series. Now, it’s Heidi Barnes’s turn! Heidi is a senior signal and power integrity engineer at Keysight Technologies. She has written over 20 papers on SI and PI, and she is an active member in developing the new IEEE P370 standard involving interconnect S-parameter quality after fixture removal. Heidi has been awarded five patents and a NASA Silver Snoopy award (each Silver Snoopy pin flies on a space mission first), and she was named DesignCon's 2017 Engineer of the Year. We hope you enjoy “Just Ask Heidi.”
Q: What do you consider to be the biggest challenge for PCB design engineers today?
A: I would have to say impedance, and the fact that electrical signals with fast digital edges and low voltages are much more sensitive to this than ever before. Designers need to start thinking in terms of return paths and impedance to better understand how layout can have an adverse impact on PCB performance. The engineering trade-offs can be quite complex between performance, cost, and risk. Innovative solutions often benefit from the ability of EDA tools to do pre-layout “what-if” simulations using measurement-based models and manufacturing tolerances.
To submit your questions for Heidi, click here.
Happy Holden, I-Connect007
I am always surprised when a colleague produces a statement about PCB laminates that seems incorrect or out of date. This need not happen today as the specialists at Isola have written an excellent book about high performance materials, now available for download from I-Connect007. Author Michael Gay, a 25-year veteran of laminate manufacturing, meticulously guides readers through the most pertinent questions regarding rigid laminates. This is essential information for everyone, including the experts, because the materials and applications for laminates in printed circuits are constantly changing.
I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Choosing the right material for your application can be a major challenge. These are “cost to performance” decisions that need to be made to select material that will meet the expected performance requirements and the desired cost targets. Selecting a material that meets cost targets but fails to perform in prototype development testing results in costly revision spins, cost increases and delays to market. Chapter 1 of this book helps readers understand what resin choices to make for optimal electrical performance.
I-Connect007 Editorial Team
The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Mark Thompson's I-Connect007 eBook "The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to... Producing the Perfect Data Package." Mark is in engineering support at Prototron Circuits and a Design007 columnist.